Friday, July 9, 2010


I finished a couple of the e-books that I mentioned recently. I'm going to attempt my own version of reviews of both of them. Bear with me, I'm new to this game. And don't hatemail me if my opinions differ from yours. I'd just block your comments anyway, since this is my own blog.

Origins, by JA Konrath is a sci fi thriller. I think that's the right term. I haven't quite gotten straight the difference between a suspense novel and a thriller, and the normal kind of action/adventure. I'd been eyeballing this one for months, but waited until I had a reader to download it. He sells a Kindle version of the book, but also gives it away for free on his own website. I opted for the free version.

This book started slowly for me. With all the critique groups and craft books, I have a harder time getting into some novels than I used to. Konrath drops a nice chunk of backstory each time he introduces one of his characters, and there are quite a few of them: a priest, a rabbi, a doctor who's now a vet, a kidnapper who's now a doctor, a scientist or two, an army guy, and a translator. And the devil. His name is Bub. And there were some nice text book excerpts explaining different scientific processes. Those might have been more fascinating to me if they'd been newer, but as an undergrad I worked in a biochemistry lab (did I ever mention I was going to major in Biology once?). So, I skimmed descriptions of introns and PCR and the like.

The idea of the book was interesting, that the US government had Satan locked in a secret underground facility and were doing tests on him. If it weren't so fascinating, and if I couldn't see the (figurative) freight train barreling down on the (figurative) maiden strapped to the tracks, then I probably wouldn't have finished it. I'm glad I kept reading. I think the second half of the book was far better than the first half. While a lot of the action was predictable, I couldn't put it down and walk away. And my husband might have been annoyed at me for reading for 2 hours straight as I neared the end, leaving him to put the 3-year old back to bed like 5 times.

If this is what Konrath couldn't sell to a NY publisher and what didn't have a "real" editing job, then I will be buying more of his newer stuff. Yes, I did say buying. Because though I read Origins as a freebie, the PDF formatting was a pain on my Sony. I had the choice of "small" text size that would require a magnifying glass, or "medium" that was quite readable and completely mucked the paragraph and line wrapping.

Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty. This is one of Carina Press's debut releases, and a historical romance. Unfortunately, I think the anticipation and (blog) press I'd read about Carina and of this title before its release built it up a little too high. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't great either.

I liked the unusual setting (Austria in 1804), and enjoyed the city and cultural details. And I actually enjoyed the characters. I tend to like moody heroes, and Arie was a grumpy, moody Heathcliff of a hero. Lofty's style here wasn't my favorite, and some passages felt overwritten. That and the body parts acting of their own accord. I'm not even talking love scenes, here. But there was a lot of independently-acting anthropomorphic anatomy throughout the book. Again, this is the type of thing I may never have noticed before I started writing (though I might have wondered why the book felt slow).

On the Carina title, I bought an ePub, and had no e-reader formatting problems. Line wrapping and font sizing were both fine and dandy on my Sony. And I am likely to buy more of Carina's novels/novellas in the future.

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